1954 Geneva Conference

The Geneva Conference was a conference among several nations that took place in Geneva, Switzerland from April 26 – July 20, 1954.[1] It was intended to settle outstanding issues resulting from the Korean War and the First Indochina War.[2] The part of the conference on the Korean question ended without adopting any declarations or proposals, so is generally considered less relevant. The Geneva Accords that dealt with the dismantling of French Indochina proved to have long-lasting repercussions, however. The crumbling of the French Empire in Southeast Asia would create the eventual states of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (North Vietnam), the State of Vietnam (the future Republic of Vietnam / South Vietnam), the Kingdom of Cambodia, and the Kingdom of Laos.

Diplomats from South Korea, North Korea, the People's Republic of China (PRC), the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), and the United States of America (US) dealt with the Korean side of the Conference. For the Indochina side, the Accords were between France, the Viet Minh, the USSR, the PRC, the US, the United Kingdom, and the future states being made from French Indochina.[3] The agreement temporarily separated Vietnam into two zones, a northern zone to be governed by the Viet Minh rebels, and a southern zone to be governed by the State of Vietnam, then headed by former emperor Bảo Đại. A Conference Final Declaration, issued by the British chairman of the conference, provided that a general election be held by July 1956 to create a unified Vietnamese state. Despite helping create the agreements, they were not directly signed onto nor accepted by delegates of both the State of Vietnam and the United States. In addition, three separate ceasefire accords, covering Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam, were signed at the conference.

French Indochina post partition
The partition of French Indochina that resulted from the Conference. Three successor states were created: the Kingdom of Cambodia, the Kingdom of Laos, and the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, the state led by Ho Chi Minh and Viet Minh. The State of Vietnam was reduced to the southern part of Vietnam. The division of Vietnam was intended to be temporary, with elections planned for in 1956 to reunify the country.


On February 18, 1954, at the Berlin Conference, participants agreed that "the problem of restoring peace in Indochina will also be discussed at the Conference [on the Korean question] to which representatives of the United States, France, the United Kingdom, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and the Chinese People's Republic and other interested states will be invited."[4][4]:436

The conference was held at the Palace of Nations in Geneva, commencing on April 26, 1954. The first agenda item was the Korean question to be followed by Indochina.[4]:549


The armistice signed at end of the Korean War required a political conference within three months—a timeline which was not met—"to settle through negotiation the questions of the withdrawal of all foreign forces from Korea, the peaceful settlement of the Korean question, etc."[5]


The Geneva Conference

As decolonization took place in Asia, France had to relinquish its power over Indochina (Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam). While Laos and Cambodia got their independence, France chose to stay in Vietnam. This ended with a war between French troops and the Vietnamese nationalists led by Ho Chi Minh. The latter's army, the Viet Minh, fought a guerrilla war, while the French employed traditional Western technology. The deciding factor was the Battle of Dien Bien Phu in 1954, where the French were heavily defeated. This resulted in French withdrawals, and the Geneva conference.

It was decided that Vietnam would be divided at the 17th parallel until 1956, when democratic elections would be held under international supervision. All parties involved agreed to this (Ho Chi Minh had strong support in the north, which was more populous than the south, and was thus comfortable that he would win an election), except for the US, who did not want to see Communism spreading in a domino effect throughout Asia.


The South Korean representative proposed that the South Korean government was the only legal government in Korea, that UN-supervised elections should be held in the North, that Chinese forces should withdraw, and that UN forces, a belligerent party in the war, should remain as a police force. The North Korean representative suggested that elections be held throughout all of Korea, that all foreign forces leave beforehand, that the elections be run by an all-Korean Commission to be made up of equal parts from North and South Korea, and to increase general relations economically and culturally between the North and the South.[6]

The Chinese delegation proposed an amendment to have a group of neutral nations supervise the elections, which the North accepted. The U.S. supported the South Korean position, saying that the USSR wanted to turn North Korea into a puppet state. Most allies remained silent and at least one, Britain, thought that the U.S.-South Korean proposal would be deemed unreasonable.[6]

The South Korean representative proposed all-Korea elections, to be held according to South Korean constitutional procedures and still under UN-supervision. On June 15, the last day of the conference on the Korean question, the USSR and China both submitted declarations in support of a unified, democratic, independent Korea, saying that negotiations to that end should resume at an appropriate time. The Belgian and British delegations said that while they were not going to accept "the Soviet and Chinese proposals, that did not mean a rejection of the ideas they contained".[7] In the end, however, the conference participants did not agree on any declaration.


Charles DeGaulle and Ho Chi Minh are hanged in effigy during the National Shame Day celebration in Saigon, July 1964
"Charles de Gaulle and Ho Chi Minh are hanged" in effigy by students demonstrating in Saigon, July 1964, on the 10th anniversary of the Geneva Accords.

While the delegates began to assemble in Geneva from late April, the discussions on Indochina did not begin until May 8, 1954. The Viet Minh had achieved their decisive victory over the French Union forces at Dien Bien Phu the previous day.[4]:549

The Western allies did not have a unified position on what the Conference was to achieve in relation to Indochina. Anthony Eden, leading the British delegation, favored a negotiated settlement to the conflict. Georges Bidault, leading the French delegation, vacillated and was keen to preserve something of France's position in Indochina to justify past sacrifices, even as the nation's military situation deteriorated.[4]:559 The US had been supporting the French in Indochina for many years and the Republican Eisenhower administration wanted to ensure that it could not be accused of another "Yalta" or having "lost" Indochina to the Communists. Its leaders had previously accused the Democratic Truman administration of having "lost China" when the communists were successful in dominating the country.

The Eisenhower administration had considered air strikes in support of the French at Dien Bien Phu but was unable to obtain a commitment to united action from key allies, such as the United Kingdom. Eisenhower was wary of becoming drawn into "another Korea" that would be deeply unpopular with the American public. US domestic policy considerations strongly influenced the country's position at Geneva.[4]:551–3 Columnist Walter Lippmann wrote on April 29 that "the American position at Geneva is an impossible one, so long as leading Republican senators have no terms for peace except unconditional surrender of the enemy and no terms for entering the war except as a collective action in which nobody is now willing to engage."[4]:554 At the time of the conference, the US did not recognize the People's Republic of China. Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, an anticommunist, forbade any contact with the Chinese delegation, refusing to shake hands with Zhou Enlai, the lead Chinese negotiator.[4]:555

Dulles fell out with the UK delegate Anthony Eden over the perceived failure of the UK to support united action and US positions on Indochina; he left Geneva on May 3 and was replaced by his deputy Walter Bedell Smith.[4]:555–8 The State of Vietnam refused to attend the negotiations until Bidault wrote to Bảo Đại, assuring him that any agreement would not partition Vietnam.[4]:550–1

Bidault opened the conference on May 8 by proposing a cessation of hostilities, a ceasefire in place, a release of prisoners, and a disarming of irregulars, despite the French surrender at Điện Biên Phủ the previous day in northwestern Vietnam.[4]:559–60

On May 10, Phạm Văn Đồng, the leader of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRV) delegation set out their position, proposing a ceasefire; separation of the opposing forces; a ban on the introduction of new forces into Indochina; the exchange of prisoners; independence and sovereignty for Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos; elections for unified governments in each country, the withdrawal of all foreign forces; and the inclusion of the Pathet Lao and Khmer Issarak representatives at the Conference.[4]:560 Pham Van Dong first proposed a temporary partition of Vietnam on May 25.[8] Following their victory at Dien Bien Phu and given the worsening French security position around the Red River Delta, a ceasefire and partition would not appear to have been in the interests of the DRV. It appears that the DRV leadership thought the balance of forces was uncomfortably close and was worried about morale problems in the troops and supporters, after eight years of war.[4]:561 Turner has argued that the Viet Minh might have prolonged the negotiations and continued fighting to achieve a more favorable position militarily, if not for Chinese and Soviet pressure on them to end the fighting.[8] In addition, there was a widespread perception that the Diem government would collapse, leaving the Viet Minh free to take control of the area.[9]

On May 12, the State of Vietnam rejected any partition of the country, and the US expressed a similar position the next day. The French sought to implement a physical separation of the opposing forces into enclaves throughout the country, known as the "leopard-skin" approach. The DRV/Viet Minh would be given the Cà Mau Peninsula, three enclaves near Saigon, large areas of Annam and Tonkin; the French Union forces would retain most urban areas and the Red River Delta, including Hanoi and Haiphong, allowing it to resume combat operation in the north, if necessary.[4]:562–3

Behind the scenes, the US and the French governments continued to discuss the terms for possible US military intervention in Indochina.[4]:563–6 By May 29, the US and the French had reached agreement that if the Conference failed to deliver an acceptable peace deal, Eisenhower would seek Congressional approval for military intervention in Indochina.[4]:568–9 However, after discussions with the Australian and New Zealand governments in which it became evident that neither would support US military intervention, reports of the plummeting morale among the French Union forces and opposition from Army Chief of Staff Matthew Ridgway, the US began to shift away from intervention and continued to oppose a negotiated settlement.[4]:569–73 By early to mid-June, the US began to consider the possibility that rather than supporting the French in Indochina, it might be preferable for the French to leave and for the US to support the new Indochinese states. That would remove the taint of French colonialism. Unwilling to support the proposed partition or intervention, by mid-June, the US decided to withdraw from major participation in the Conference.[4]:574–5

On June 15, Vyacheslav Molotov had proposed that the ceasefire should be monitored by a supervisory commission, chaired by neutral India. On June 16, Zhou Enlai stated that the situations in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos were not the same and should be treated separately. He proposed that Laos and Cambodia could be treated as neutral nations if they had no foreign bases. On June 18, Pham Van Dong said the Viet Minh would be prepared to withdraw their forces from Laos and Cambodia if no foreign bases were established in Indochina.[4]:581 The apparent softening of the Communist position appeared to arise from a meeting among the DRV, Chinese and Soviet delegations on June 15 in which Zhou warned the Viet Minh that its military presence in Laos and Cambodia threatened to undermine negotiations in relation to Vietnam. That represented a major blow to the DRV, which had tried to ensure that the Pathet Lao and Khmer Issarak would join the governments in Laos and Cambodia, respectively, under the leadership of the DRV. The Chinese likely also sought to ensure that Laos and Cambodia were not under Vietnam's influence in the future but under China's.[4]:581–3

On June 18, following a vote of no-confidence, the French Laniel government fell and was replaced by a coalition with Radical Pierre Mendès France as Prime Minister, by a vote of 419 to 47, with 143 abstentions.[4]:579 Prior to the collapse of the Laniel government, France recognized Vietnam as "a fully independent and sovereign state" on June 4.[10] A long-time opponent of the war, Mendès France had pledged to the National Assembly that he would resign if he failed to achieve a ceasefire within 30 days.[4]:575 Mendès France retained the Foreign Ministry for himself, and Bidault left the Conference.[4]:579 The new French government abandoned earlier assurances to the State of Vietnam that France would not pursue or accept partition, and it engaged in secret negotiations with the Viet Minh delegation, bypassing the State of Vietnam to meet Mendès France's self-imposed deadline.[11] On June 23, Mendès France secretly met with Zhou Enlai at the French embassy in Bern. Zhou outlined the Chinese position that an immediate ceasefire was required, the three nations should be treated separately, and that two governments existed in Vietnam would be recognized.[4]:584

Mendès France returned to Paris. The following day he met with his main advisers on Indochina. General Paul Ély outlined the deteriorating military position in Vietnam, and Jean Chauvel suggested that the situation on the ground called for partition at the 16th or 17th parallel. The three agreed that the Bao Dai government would need time to consolidate its position and that US assistance would be vital. The possibility of retaining Hanoi and Haiphong or just Haiphong was dismissed, as the French believed it was preferable to seek partition with no Viet Minh enclaves in the south.[4]:585–7

On June 16, twelve days after France granted full independence to the State of Vietnam,[12] Bao Dai appointed Ngo Dinh Diem as Prime Minister to replace Bửu Lộc. Diem was a staunch nationalist, both anti-French and anticommunist, with strong political connections in the US.[4]:576 Diem agreed to take the position if he receive all civilian and military powers.[12] Diem and his foreign minister, Tran Van Do, were strongly opposed to partition.

At Geneva, the State of Vietnam's proposal included "a ceasefire without a demarcation line" and "control by the United Nations... of the administration of the entire country [and] of the general elections, when the United Nations believes that order and security will have been everywhere truly restored."[13]

On June 28 following an Anglo-US summit in Washington, the UK and the US issued a joint communique, which included a statement that if the Conference failed, "the international situation will be seriously aggravated." The parties also agreed to a secret list of seven minimum outcomes that both parties would "respect": the preservation of a noncommunist South Vietnam (plus an enclave in the Red River Delta if possible), future reunification of divided Vietnam, and the integrity of Cambodia and Laos, including the removal of all Viet Minh forces.[4]:593–4

Also on June 28, Tạ Quang Bửu, a senior DRV negotiator, called for the line of partition to be at the 13th parallel, the withdrawal of all French Union forces from the north within three months of the ceasefire, and the Pathet Lao to have virtual sovereignty over eastern Laos.[4]:595–6

From July 3 to 5, Zhou Enlai met with Ho Chi Minh and other senior DRV leaders in Liuzhou. Most of the first day was spent to discuss the military situation and balance of forces in Vietnam, Giáp explained that while

Dien Bien Phu had represented a colossal defeat for France ... she was far from defeated. She retained a superiority in numbers - some 470,000 troops, roughly half of them Vietnamese, versus 310,000 on the Viet Minh side as well as control of Vietnam's major cities (Hanoi, Saigon, Huế, Tourane (Da Nang)). A fundamental alteration of the balance of forces had thus yet to occur, Giap continued, despite Dien Bien Phu.

Wei Guoqing, the chief Chinese military adviser to the Viet Minh, said he agreed. "If the U.S. does not interfere,' Zhou asked, "and assuming France will dispatch more troops, how long will it take for us to seize the whole of Indochina?" In the best scenario, Giap replied, "full victory could be achieved in two to three years. Worst case? Three to five years."[4]:596

That afternoon Zhou "offered a lengthy exposition on the massive international reach of the Indochina conflict ... and on the imperative of preventing an American intervention in the war. Given Washington's intense hostility to the Chinese Revolution ... one must assume that the current administration would not stand idly by if the Viet Minh sought to win complete victory." Consequently, "if we ask too much at Geneva and peace is not achieved, it is certain that the U.S. will intervene, providing Cambodia, Laos and Bao Dai with weapons and ammunition, helping them train military personnel, and establishing military bases there ... The central issue", Zhou told Ho, is "to prevent America's intervention" and "to achieve a peaceful settlement." Laos and Cambodia would have to be treated differently and be allowed to pursue their own paths if they did not join a military alliance or permit foreign bases on their territory. The Mendes France government, having vowed to achieve a negotiated solution, must be supported, for fear that it would fall and be replaced by one committed to continuing the war."[4]:597 Ho pressed hard for the partition line to be at the 16th parallel while Zhou noted that Route 9, the only land route from Laos to the South China Sea ran closer to the 17th parallel.[4]:597

Several days later the Communist Party of Vietnam's Sixth Central Committee plenum took place. Ho Chi Minh and General Secretary Trường Chinh took turns emphasising the need for an early political settlement to prevent a military intervention by the United States, now the "main and direct enemy" of Vietnam. "In the new situation we cannot follow the old program," Ho declared. "[B]efore, our motto was, 'war of resistance until victory.' Now, in view of the new situation, we should uphold a new motto: peace, unification, independence, and democracy." A spirit of compromise would be required by both sides to make the negotiations succeed, and there could be no more talk of wiping out and annihilating all the French troops. A demarcation line allowing the temporary regroupment of both sides would be necessary ..." The plenum endorsed Ho's analysis, passing a resolution supporting a compromise settlement to end the fighting. However, Ho and Truong Chinh plainly worried that following such an agreement at Geneva, there would be internal discontent and "leftist deviation," and in particular, analysts would fail to see the complexity of the situation and underestimate the power of the American and French adversaries. They accordingly reminded their colleagues that France would retain control of a large part of the country and that people living in the area might be confused, alienated, and vulnerable to enemy manipulations.

"We have to make it clear to our people," Ho said that "in the interest of the whole country, for the sake of long-term interest, they must accept this, because it is a glorious thing and the whole country is grateful for that. We must not let people have pessimistic and negative thinking; instead, we must encourage the people to continue the struggle for the withdrawal of French troops and ensure our independence."[4]:597–8

The Conference reconvened on July 10, and Mendès France arrived to lead the French delegation.[4]:599 The State of Vietnam continued to protest against partition which had become inevitable, with the only issue being where the line should be drawn.[4]:602 Walter Bedell Smith from the US arrived in Geneva on July 16, but the US delegation was under instructions to avoid direct association with the negotiations.[4]:602

All parties at the Conference called for reunification elections but could not agree on the details. Pham Van Dong proposed elections under the supervision of "local commissions." The US, with the support of Britain and the Associated States of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, suggested UN supervision. That was rejected by Molotov, who argued for a commission with an equal number of communist and noncommunist members, which could determine "important" issues only by unanimous agreement.[14] The negotiators were unable to agree on a date for the elections for reunification. The DRV argued that the elections should be held within six months of the ceasefire, and the Western allies sought to have no deadline. Molotov proposed June 1955 then later softened later in 1955 and finally July 1956.[4]:610 The Diem government supported reunification elections but only with effective international supervision; it argued that genuinely free elections were impossible in the totalitarian North.[15]

Geneva Conference, 21 July 1954. Last plenary session on Indochina in the Palais des Nations. Second left Vyacheslav Molotov, 2 unidentified Russians, Anthony Eden, Sir Harold Caccie and W.D. Allen. In the foreground, the North Vietnamese delegation.

By the afternoon of July 20, the remaining outstanding issues were resolved as the parties agreed that the partition line should be at the 17th parallel and that the elections for reunification should be in July 1956, two years after the ceasefire.[4]:604 The "Agreement on the Cessation of Hostilities in Vietnam" was signed only by French and Viet Minh military commands, completely bypassing the State of Vietnam.[14] Based on a proposal by Zhou Enlai, an International Control Commission (ICC) chaired by India, with Canada and Poland as members, was placed in charge of supervising the ceasefire.[4]:603[14] Because issues were to be decided unanimously, Poland's presence in the ICC provided the communists effective veto power over supervision of the treaty.[14] The unsigned "Final Declaration of the Geneva Conference" called for reunification elections, which the majority of delegates expected to be supervised by the ICC. The Viet Minh never accepted ICC authority over such elections, stating that the ICC's "competence was to be limited to the supervision and control of the implementation of the Agreement on the Cessation of Hostilities by both parties."[16] Of the nine delegates present, only the United States and the State of Vietnam refused to accept the declaration. Bedell Smith delivered a "unilateral declaration" of the US position, reiterating: "We shall seek to achieve unity through free elections supervised by the United Nations to insure that they are conducted fairly."[17]

While the three agreements (later known as the Geneva Accords) were dated July 20 (to meet Mendès France's 30-day deadline) they were in fact signed on the morning of July 21.[4]:605[18]


The accords, which were issued on July 21, 1954,[19] set out the following terms in relation to Vietnam:

  • a "provisional military demarcation line" running approximately along the 17th Parallel[20] "on either side of which the forces of the two parties shall be regrouped after their withdrawal".[20]
  • a 3 miles (4.8 km) wide demilitarized zone on each side of the demarcation line
  • French Union forces to regroup to the south of the line and Viet Minh to the north
  • free movement of the population between the zone for three hundred days
  • neither zone to join any military alliance or seek military reinforcement
  • establishment of the International Control Commission, comprising Canada, Poland and India as chair, to monitor the ceasefire[4]:605[21]

The agreement was signed by the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, France, the People's Republic of China, the Soviet Union and the United Kingdom. The State of Vietnam rejected the agreement,[22] while the United States stated that it "took note" of the ceasefire agreements and declared that it would "refrain from the threat or use of force to disturb them.[4]:606

To put aside any notion specifically that the partition was permanent, an unsigned Final Declaration, stated in Article 6: "The Conference recognizes that the essential purpose of the agreement relating to Vietnam is to settle military questions with a view to ending hostilities and that the military demarcation line is provisional and should not in any way be interpreted as constituting a political or territorial boundary."[20]

Separate accords were signed by the signatories with the Kingdom of Cambodia and the Kingdom of Laos in relation to Cambodia and Laos respectively.

The British and Communist Chinese delegations reached agreement on the sidelines of the Conference to upgrade their diplomatic relations.[23]


The DRV at Geneva accepted a much worse settlement than the military situation on the ground indicated. "For Ho Chi Minh, there was no getting around the fact that his victory, however unprecedented and stunning was incomplete and perhaps temporary. The vision that had always driven him on, that of a 'great union' of all Vietnamese, had flickered into view for a fleeting moment in 1945–46, then had been lost in the subsequent war. Now, despite vanquishing the French military, the dream remained unrealized ..."[4]:620 That was partly as a result of the great pressure exerted by China (Pham Van Dong is alleged to have said in one of the final negotiating sessions that Zhou Enlai double-crossed the DRV) and the Soviet Union for their own purposes, but the Viet Minh had their own reasons for agreeing to a negotiated settlement, principally their own concerns regarding the balance of forces and fear of US intervention.[4]:607–9

France had achieved a much better outcome than could have been expected. Bidault had stated at the beginning of the Conference that he was playing with "a two of clubs and a three of diamonds" whereas the DRV had several aces, kings and queens,[4]:607 but Jean Chauvel was more circumspect: "There is no good end to a bad business."[4]:613

In a press conference on July 21, President Eisenhower expressed satisfaction that a ceasefire had been concluded but stated that the US was not a party to the Accords or bound by them, as they contained provisions that his administration could not support.[4]:612


On October 9, 1954, the tricolore was lowered for the last time at the Hanoi Citadel and the last French Union forces left the city, crossing the Paul Doumer Bridge on their way to Haiphong for embarkation.[4]:617–8

Anticommunist Vietnamese refugees moving from a French LSM landing ship to the USS Montague during Operation Passage to Freedom in August 1954.

For the communist forces, which were instrumental in the defeat of the French, the ideology of communism and nationalism were linked. Many communist sympathisers viewed the South Vietnamese as a French colonial remnant and later an American puppet regime. On the other hand, many others viewed the North Vietnamese as a puppet of Communist International.

After the cessation of hostilities, a large migration took place. North Vietnamese, especially Catholics, intellectuals, business people, land owners, anti-communist democrats, and members of the middle-class moved south of the Accords-mandated ceasefire line during Operation Passage to Freedom. The ICC reported that at least 892,876 North Vietnamese were processed through official refugee stations, while journalists recounted that as many as 2 million more might have fled without the presence of Viet Minh soldiers, who frequently beat and occasionally killed those who refused to turn back.[24] The CIA attempted to further influence Catholic Vietnamese with slogans such as "the Virgin Mary is moving South".[25] At the same time, 52,000 people from the South went North, mostly Viet Minh members and their families.

The US replaced the French as a political backup for Ngo Dinh Diem, the Prime Minister of the State of Vietnam, who asserted his power in the South. The Geneva conference had not provided any specific mechanisms for the national elections planned for 1956, and Diem refused to hold them by citing that the South had not signed and were not bound to the Geneva Accords and that it was impossible to hold free elections in the communist North. Instead, he went about attempting to crush communist opposition.[26][27]

On May 20, 1955, French Union forces withdrew from Saigon to a coastal bases and on April 28, 1956, the last French forces left Vietnam.[4]:650

North Vietnam violated the Geneva Accords by failing to withdraw all Viet Minh troops from South Vietnam, stifling the movement of North Vietnamese refugees, and conducting a military buildup that more than doubled the number of armed divisions in the North Vietnamese army while the South Vietnamese army was reduced by 20,000 men.[28] US military advisers continued to support the Army of the Republic of Vietnam, which was created as a replacement for the Vietnamese National Army. The failure of reunification led to the creation of the National Liberation Front (better known as the Viet Cong) by Ho Chi Minh's government. They were closely aided by the Vietnam People's Army (VPA) of the North, also known as the North Vietnamese Army. The result was the Vietnam War.

Historian John Lewis Gaddis said that the 1954 accords "were so hastily drafted and ambiguously worded that, from the standpoint of international law, it makes little sense to speak of violations from either side."[29]

See also


  1. ^ Young, Marilyn (1991). The Vietnam Wars: 1945–1990. New York: HarperPerennial. p. 41. ISBN 978-0-06-092107-1.
  2. ^ "Indochina - Midway in the Geneva Conference: Address by the Secretary of State". Avalon Project. Yale Law School. May 7, 1954. Retrieved 29 April 2010.
  3. ^ Archive, Wilson Center Digital. "Wilson Center Digital Archive". digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av Logevall, Fredrik (2012). Embers of War: The Fall of an Empire and the Making of America's Vietnam. random House. ISBN 978-0-679-64519-1.
  5. ^ "Text of the Korean War Armistice Agreement". Findlaw. Columbia University. July 27, 1953. Retrieved 29 April 2010.
  6. ^ a b Bailey, Sydney D. (1992). The Korean Armistice. St. Martin's Press. p. 163.
  7. ^ Bailey, Sydney D. (1992). The Korean Armistice. St. Martin's Press. pp. 167–168.
  8. ^ a b Turner 1975, p. 92.
  9. ^ Turner 1975, p. 108.
  10. ^ Turner 1975, p. 93.
  11. ^ Turner 1975, p. 88.
  12. ^ a b Turner 1975, p. 94.
  13. ^ Turner 1975, pp. 94–95.
  14. ^ a b c d Turner 1975, p. 97.
  15. ^ Turner 1975, p. 107.
  16. ^ Turner 1975, p. 99.
  17. ^ Turner 1975, pp. 99-100.
  18. ^ 1975 & Turner, p. 96.
  19. ^ "The Final Declarations of the Geneva Conference July 21, 1954". The Wars for Viet Nam. Vassar College. Archived from the original on 7 August 2011. Retrieved 20 July 2011.
  20. ^ a b c The United States in Vietnam: An analysis in depth of the history of America's involvement in Vietnam by George McTurnan Kahin and John W. Lewis Delta Books, 1967.
  21. ^ (Article 3) (N. Tarling, The Cambridge History of Southeast Asia, Volume Two Part Two: From World War II to the present, Cambridge University Press, p45)
  22. ^ Ang Cheng Guan (1997). Vietnamese Communists' Relations with China and the Second Indochina War (1956–62). Jefferson, NC: McFarland. p. 11. ISBN 0-7864-0404-3.
  23. ^ Lowe, Peter (January 1997). Containing the Cold War in East Asia: British Policies Towards Japan, China and Korea, 1948-53. Manchester University Press. p. 261. ISBN 9780719025082. Retrieved July 21, 2013.
  24. ^ Turner 1975, p. 102-103.
  25. ^ Patrick J. Hearden (2017). The Tragedy of Vietnam. Routledge. p. 74. ISBN 9781351674003. Retrieved 19 September 2017.
  26. ^ Keylor, William. "The 20th Century World and Beyond: An International History Since 1900," p.371, Oxford University Press: 2011.
  27. ^ David L. Anderson (2010). The Columbia History of the Vietnam War. Columbia University Press. p. 30–31. ISBN 978-0-231-13480-4.
  28. ^ Turner 1975, p. 100-104.
  29. ^ Fadiman, Anne. The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down. Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 1997. 126.


  • Asselin, Pierre. "The Democratic Republic of Vietnam and the 1954 Geneva Conference: a revisionist critique". Cold War History (2011) 11#2 pp: 155–195.
  • Hannon Jr, John S. "Political Settlement for Vietnam: The 1954 Geneva Conference and Its Current Implications, A". Virginia Journal of International Law 8 (1967): 4.
  • Turner, Robert F. (1975). Vietnamese Communism: Its Origins and Development. Hoover Institution Publications. ISBN 9780817914318.
  • Waite, James. The End of the First Indochina War: A Global History (2013)
  • Young, Kenneth T. The 1954 Geneva Conference: Indo-China and Korea (Greenwood Press, 1968)

External links

1955 Cambodian general election

General elections were held in Cambodia in 1955. The elections were held following the peace established at the 1954 Geneva Conference and the independence of the country. The election were postponed to September 1955. The result was a victory for the Sangkum party, which won all 91 seats.

Chu Văn An High School (Ho Chi Minh City)

Chu Van An High School is a high school in Sai Gon, Vietnam. The school is located at the intersection of Ngo Gia Tu Blvd. (formerly Minh Mang Blvd.) and Ngo Quyen St. (formerly Trieu Da St.), District 5, Ho Chi Minh City. Originally, the school was founded by teachers and students of Buoi High School who moved to Saigon from the north following the 1954 Geneva Conference. After a time of operation under the sponsorship of Petrus Ky High School, these people built a new high school at Minh Mang St. in 1961 and named it after Chu Van An, a famous Vietnamese Confucianism teacher of Tran Dynasty. After the end of the Vietnam War in 1975, the school continued operating under this name. In 1978, the school was dissolved and its students were transferred into nearby high schools. The school's building was transferred to a new school named Huấn Nghệ Phổ thông Lao động School (Training of General Labor Skills School). Later, the school was revived by the end of the 1990s under a new education program.

Democratic Party (Cambodia)

The Democratic Party (Khmer: ក្រុមប្រជាធិបតេយ្យ, "Democratic Group") was a left-leaning, pro-independence political party formed in 1946 by Prince Sisowath Youtevong, who had previously been a member of the French Section of the Workers' International. It was the sole dominant party in Cambodia from 1946 until the creation of Sangkum in 1955.

Its slogan was "Peace, Independence, Discipline and Courage" and its electoral symbol an elephant's head and three lotus flowers.

Domino theory

The domino theory was a theory prominent from the 1950s to the 1980s that posited that if one country in a region came under the influence of communism, then the surrounding countries would follow in a domino effect. The domino theory was used by successive United States administrations during the Cold War to justify the need for American intervention around the world.

U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower described the theory during an April 7, 1954, news conference, when referring to communism in Indochina:

Finally, you have broader considerations that might follow what you would call the "falling domino" principle. You have a row of dominoes set up, you knock over the first one, and what will happen to the last one is the certainty that it will go over very quickly. So you could have a beginning of a disintegration that would have the most profound influences.

Emanuel Freedman

Emanuel R. Freedman (died 1971) was an American journalist. He was the foreign editor of The New York Times for 16 years and then an assistant managing editor. He was known for his fieldwork in the 1950s on the Korean War, the Hungarian Uprising of 1956, the 1954 Geneva conference on Indochina, and the Suez crisis.

France–Vietnam relations

French–Vietnamese relations started as early as the 17th century with the mission of the Jesuit father Alexandre de Rhodes. Various traders would visit Vietnam during the 18th century, until the major involvement of French forces under Pigneau de Béhaine from 1787 to 1789 helped establish the Nguyễn Dynasty. France was heavily involved in Vietnam in the 19th century under the pretext of protecting the work of Catholic missionaries in the country. France progressively carved for itself a huge colony, which would form French Indochina in 1887. France continued to rule Vietnam as a colony until France's defeat in the First Indochina War and the proclamation of Vietnam's independence in 1954.

Indochine (film)

Indochine (French pronunciation: ​[ɛ̃dɔʃin]) is a 1992 French film set in colonial French Indochina during the 1930s to 1950s. It is the story of Éliane Devries, a French plantation owner, and of her adopted Vietnamese daughter, Camille, with the rising Vietnamese nationalist movement set as a backdrop. The screenplay was written by novelist Érik Orsenna, scriptwriters Louis Gardel, Catherine Cohen, and Régis Wargnier, who also directed the film. The film stars Catherine Deneuve, Vincent Pérez, Linh Dan Pham, Jean Yanne and Dominique Blanc. The film won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film at the 65th Academy Awards.


Khmer may refer to:

Srok Khmer, the modern Kingdom of Cambodia

Khmer people, the ethnic group to which the great majority of Cambodians belong

Khmer Krom, Khmer people living in the Delta and the Lower Mekong area

Khmer Loeu, the Mon-Khmer highland tribes in Cambodia

Northern Khmer people, or Khmer Surin of Northeast Thailand

Khmer language, the language of the Khmer and the official language of Cambodia

Khmer alphabet, the script used to write the Khmer and Khmer Loeu languages

Khmer (Unicode block), a block of Unicode characters of the Khmer script.

Khmer cuisine, the dominant cuisine in Cambodia

Khmer architecture, the architecture of Cambodia

Khmer Empire, which ruled much of Indochina from the 9th to the 13th centuries

Khmer Republic, the name of Cambodia from 1970 to 1975

Khmer Issarak, anti-French, Khmer nationalist political movement formed in 1945

Khmer Serei, anti-communist and anti-monarchist guerrilla force founded by Cambodian nationalist Son Ngoc Thanh

Khmer Sar (White Khmer), pro-US force formed by Khmer Republic's defence minister Sak Sutsakhan.

Khmer (album), a 1997 jazz album by Nils Petter Molvær

Khmer (food), a dish from Saudi Arabia

Political terms coined by Norodom Sihanouk based on the word 'Khmer':

Khmer Rouge, a Cambodian Communist political group and guerrilla movement

Khmer Việt Minh, Cambodian communists who lived in exile in North Vietnam after the 1954 Geneva Conference

Khmer Bleu, Sihanouk's domestic opponents on the right, whom he so named to distinguish them from his domestic opponents on the left, the 'Khmer Rouge'

Korean Armistice Agreement

The Korean Armistice Agreement (Korean: 한국휴전협정) is the armistice which brought about a complete cessation of hostilities of the Korean War. It was signed by U.S. Army Lieutenant General William Harrison, Jr. representing the United Nations Command (UNC), North Korean General Nam Il representing the Korean People's Army (KPA), and the Chinese People's Volunteer Army (PVA). The armistice was signed on 27 July 1953, and was designed to "ensure a complete cessation of hostilities and of all acts of armed force in Korea until a final peaceful settlement is achieved."During the 1954 Geneva Conference in Switzerland, Chinese Premier and foreign minister Zhou Enlai suggested that a peace treaty should be implemented on the Korean peninsula. However, the US secretary of state, John Foster Dulles, did not accommodate this attempt to achieve such a treaty. A final peace settlement has never been achieved. The signed armistice established the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), the de facto new border between the two nations, put into force a cease-fire, and finalized repatriation of prisoners of war. The DMZ runs close to the 38th parallel and has separated North and South Korea since the Korean Armistice Agreement was signed in 1953.

South Korea never signed the Armistice Agreement due to President Syngman Rhee's refusal to accept the division of Korea. China normalized relations and signed a peace treaty with South Korea in 1992. In 1994, China withdrew from the Military Armistice Commission, essentially leaving North Korea and the UN Command as the only participants in the armistice agreement.

Matthew Halton

Matthew Henry Halton (September 7, 1904 – December 3, 1956) was a Canadian television journalist, most famous as a foreign correspondent for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation during World War II.

Born in Pincher Creek, Alberta, Halton attended teachers college in Calgary and taught school for several years before attending the University of Alberta, where he gained experience reporting and editing for The Gateway. He subsequently went to London, England to study at King's College London and at the London School of Economics, writing extensively on European affairs for Canadian newspapers. He briefly returned to Canada in 1931, but then returned to Europe as a correspondent for the Toronto Star. He covered such issues as the rise of Nazism in Germany, the Spanish Civil War and the Winter War; with the Munich Crisis of 1938, he began filing reports for CBC Radio as well.

Halton was briefly reassigned to the Star's Washington, DC bureau in 1940, but was soon sent back to cover the North African campaign. He reported extensively for the CBC over the next two years, and then briefly returned to Canada to write and publish the memoir Ten Years to Alamein. In 1943, he was named the CBC's senior war correspondent, returning to London and covering all aspects of the final two years of the war. After the end of World War II, he remained in Europe as the network's senior foreign correspondent, covering the Nuremberg Trials, the funeral of King George VI, the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II and the 1954 Geneva Conference, among other stories. He also filed frequent reports for the BBC as well.

In 1956, Halton received an honorary doctorate from the University of Alberta. He died several months later, following stomach surgery.

Halton's son David later became CBC Television's chief political correspondent. His daughter Kathleen married influential British theatre critic Kenneth Tynan, and later established her own career as a writer.

Matthew Halton High School in Halton’s home town of Pincher Creek, Alberta is named after him.

North Vietnamese invasion of Laos

North Vietnam supported the Pathet Lao to fight against the Kingdom of Laos between 1958–1959. Control over Laos allowed for the eventual construction of the Ho Chi Minh Trail that would serve as the main supply route (MSR) for enhanced NLF (the National Liberation Front, the Vietcong) and NVA (North Vietnamese Army) activities in the Republic of Vietnam. As such, the support for Pathet Lao to fight against Kingdom of Laos by North Vietnam would prove decisive in the eventual communist victory over South Vietnam in 1975 as the South Vietnamese and American forces could have prevented any NVA and NLF deployment and resupply if these only happened over the 17th Parallel, also known as the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), a narrow strip of land between North and South Vietnam that was closely guarded by both sides. It also helped the Pathet Lao win the Kingdom of Laos, although the Kingdom of Laos had American support.

October 11

October 11 is the 284th day of the year (285th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 81 days remaining until the end of the year.

This date is slightly more likely to fall on a Tuesday, Sunday, or Thursday(58 times in 400 years) than a Friday or Saturday (57), and slightly less likely to fall on a Monday or Wednesday (56).

Operation Booster Shot

Operation Booster Shot was a rural aid program run by the United States in the Kingdom of Laos during March and April 1958. Its purpose was to influence Lao peasantry to vote during May National Assembly elections for those politicians the U.S. favored. Because of the lack of roads in Laos, Booster Shot became an air delivery operation. It proceeded somewhat haphazardly due to rushed planning. Although logistically successful, the end result was electoral victory by the communist candidates opposed to the U.S.

Subsequently, right wing Assembly members organized against the newly elected communists. Also, the Programs Evaluation Office in the American embassy gained an aerial delivery section; this was the beginning of extensive air operations in Laos.

Operation Millpond

Operation Millpond, which operated from 13 March 1961 through August 1961, was an American covert operation designed to introduce air power into the Laotian Civil War. A force of 16 B26s, 16 Sikorsky H-34s, and other military materiel was hastily shipped in from Okinawa and held ready to operate from the Kingdom of Thailand. After this hasty preparation for bombing in Laos, the debacle at the Bay of Pigs invasion resulted in the cancellation of Millpond. The B-26s were returned to Okinawa. However, the precedent had been set for covert Central Intelligence Agency-sponsored air operations in Laos.

Pathet Lao

The Pathet Lao (Lao: ປະເທດລາວ pa thēt lāo, "Lao Nation") was a communist political movement and organization in Laos, formed in the mid-20th century. The group was ultimately successful in assuming political power in 1975, after the Laotian Civil War. The Pathet Lao were always closely associated with Vietnamese communists. During the civil war, it was effectively organized, equipped and even led by the People's Army of Vietnam. They fought against the anti-communist forces in the Vietnam War. Eventually, the term became the generic name for Laotian communists.

Project Hotfoot (Laos)

Project Hotfoot (also known as Operation Hotfoot) was a secretive military training mission from the United States in support of the Kingdom of Laos. It ran from 22 January 1959 through 19 April 1961. Working in civilian clothing in conjunction with a French military mission, it concentrated on technical training of the Royal Lao Army.

Timeline of United States history (1950–1969)

This section of the Timeline of United States history concerns events from 1950 to 1969.

Victor Campbell Moore

Victor Campbell Moore is a former Canadian diplomat.Moore's first posting abroad was to Karachi from 1960-1962, and then to The Hague until 1965.From 1965-1967 Moore represented Canada as commissioner of the International Control Commission, during the Vietnam War. Moore negotiated directly with the Communist government in Hanoi in an attempt to reconvene the 1954 Geneva Conference. Unfortunately, the effort championed by Moore and Chester Ronning was unsuccessful.In 1968 Moore was appointed High Commissioner to Jamaica, a post he held until 1972. From 1971-1972 he also acted as commissioner to the Bahamas and Belize.In 1976 and 1977 Moore succeeded Arthur Frederick Broadbridge as High Commissioner to Malawi and Zambia and Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Mozambique, posts he held until 1979.

Việt Minh

Việt Minh (Vietnamese: [vîət mīŋ̟] (listen); abbreviated from Việt Nam độc lập đồng minh, French: "Ligue pour l'indépendance du Viêt Nam", English: "League for the Independence of Vietnam") was a national independence coalition formed at Pác Bó by Hồ Chí Minh on May 19, 1941. The Việt Nam Độc Lập Đồng Minh Hội had previously formed in Nanjing, China, at some point between August 1935 and early 1936 when Vietnamese Nationalist or other Vietnamese nationalist parties formed an anti-imperialist united front. This organization soon lapsed into inactivity, only to be revived by the Indochinese Communist Party (ICP) and Hồ Chí Minh in 1941. The Việt Minh established itself as the only organized anti-French and anti-Japanese resistance group. The Việt Minh initially formed to seek independence for Vietnam from the French Empire. The United States supported France. When the Japanese occupation began, the Việt Minh opposed Japan with support from the United States and the Republic of China. After World War II, the Việt Minh opposed the re-occupation of Vietnam by France and later opposed South Vietnam and the United States in the Vietnam War.

The political leader and founder of Việt Minh was Hồ Chí Minh. The military leadership was under the command of Võ Nguyên Giáp. Other founders were Lê Duẩn and Phạm Văn Đồng.

The Việt Minh was considered by the Communist Party of Vietnam as a form of national independence front in Vietnam, it was also known as the Việt Minh's Independent Allied Front, Việt Minh Front.

Constituent territories

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